Israel Catches Two More Escaped Palestinian Militants, Police Say

By Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
September 11, 2021 Updated: September 11, 2021

NAZARETH—Israeli forces on Saturday captured two more of the six Palestinian terrorists who made a dramatic escape from a maximum-security Israeli jail this week, a police spokesperson said.

The two men were found hiding in a truck parking lot in an Arab village in northern Israel, near the city of Nazareth, where two other escapees were captured hours earlier.

Their Hollywood-style prison break on Monday, through a hole in their prison cell floor, delighted Palestinians and embarrassed Israel.

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In this photo provided by Israel’s Prisons Service, a hole in a floor is seen after six Palestinian prisoners escaped from the Gilboa prison in northern Israel on Sept. 6, 2021. (Israeli Prisons Service via AP)

Footage distributed by Israel Police showed officers leading the two men, blindfold and handcuffed, into a police vehicle as a manhunt for two more fugitives that are still at large continued.

The six men have either been convicted or are suspected of planning or carrying out deadly attacks against Israelis. Israeli officials have pledged a thorough investigation into apparent security lapses that allowed their escape.

One of the men captured on Saturday morning was Zakaria Zubeidi, a high-profile former commander of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades armed group in the West Bank city of Jenin.

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A member of the Israeli forces clashes with a demonstrator during a protest in solidarity with prisoners following the escape of six Palestinian terrorists from an Israeli prison, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Sept. 9, 2021. (Mussa Qawasma/Reuters)

Zubeidi, who once received Israeli amnesty, was rearrested by Israel in 2019 after his alleged involvement in further shootings.

The other five prisoners are members of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group.

In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, protests were held in support of the men, where some regard them as heroes in the Palestinian struggle for statehood in territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

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Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli forces during a protest in solidarity with prisoners following the escape of six Palestinian terrorists from an Israeli prison, in Beita, in the West Bank, on Sept. 10, 2021. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

Israel says Palestinians involved in violent activities are terrorists.

Palestinian factions said there would be repercussions for the men’s capture. Gaza militants fired a rocket towards Israel on Friday following the first two rearrests, drawing Israeli air strikes in the enclave.

By Rami Ayyub

Reuters